By Ejiofor Alike
Contrary to fears earlier entertained that the release of report of the House of Representatives’ Probe Panel on petrol subsidy could create panic among the fuel marketers and disrupt supply of petroleum products across the country, market activities have remained normal in the downstream, THISDAY can report.
The panel recently submitted its report, where it indicted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and 69 oil firms for alleged fraudulent transactions and
recommended that they should refund over N1trillion to government coffers.
Though there were speculations and unsubstantiated allegations that some sections of the report may have been doctored, as names of certain persons who were expected to be indicted were not in the report, the panel no doubt, wrote a damning report against powerful persons and organisations.
There was concern that the report would create panic in the system and disrupt supply of petroleum products by marketers but investigation had revealed that market activities have continued as usual, with products available at normal prices.
Some marketers, who spoke to THISDAY on the report, stated that marketers ignored the report because the probe panel “was not thorough in its work.”
One of the marketers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the panel discredited its own report by indicting marketers that were never invited to appear before it.
“They discredited their own report. How can you indict a company that was not invited to defend itself? It shows that they were not thorough. It shows that they cooked the report and that is why marketers ignored their report and continued business as usual. What is happening is that marketers are faulting the report everyday by placing adverts on the papers. The industry would have been in crisis if the report were to be seen as credible and the indicted marketers would not have been importing fuel by now for fear that they would not be paid subsidy. That would have created serious crisis,” he said.
Another marketer also stated that the panel did not do a thorough job as it even indicted one or two companies that never collected a kobo as subsidy.
“They even indicted one or two companies that did not participate in the PSF (Petroleum Support Fund) scheme. How did they arrive at such report? How did they generate the figures they used to indict them? It was an indication that they cooked figures to indict people and this destroyed the report. Imagine a situation where they had to clear some companies they had indicted because of mistakes on their part. That calls the credibility of the report to question and people had to ignore them. People were only interested in clearing their names on the papers,” he said.
THISDAY’s investigation has revealed that business activities have remained normal, with the whole country wet with petroleum products being sold at normal prices.
It was gathered that private marketers were selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at N89.50 per litre at the depots in Lagos, while the NNPC was selling at ex-depot price of N88.90.
The pump price was also normal at N97 per litre in filling stations around Lagos and Abuja but the pump prices at the hinterland hovered around N100 per litre, which had always been the case.
However, the average ex-depot price of kerosene in Lagos depots was N115 per litre at the weekend, while filling stations were selling between N130 and N150.